Jun 16, 2016 @ 21:03 EST

Dear Anton,

The inclination of your pensive, shadowed head. The figure may be human or stone, it’s impossible to know. Though it is rare for public statuary to assume introspective poses. We prefer those we put on pedestals to gaze at the horizon.

The public figure on a plinth leads me to think of its counterpoint; specifically the efforts of those who elevated him. Or should I say, upon whose backs he was elevated. Though it is easy to traffic in generalities. We well know the cycle of elevation and desecration of past heroes, as their ideas come in and out of fashion, and the public contention and violence that results. 

In any case, your inclined head implies reflection, which in turn implies a response to an event or a gesture, a fragment of narrative. In choosing images for you, I‘ve been pulled between those that imply a story and those that imply a concept. And when I choose I step away from reason and instead allow an image to arise in my mind. Once it has secured a place it begins to accumulate a weight that is difficult to resist. 

All this talk of groups and conformity, of statues and gazes, of empire and eternity. And you in Rome. It’s leading me to Tiberius, inclined to introspection, the “gloomiest of men” according to Pliny the Elder, but also conqueror of the Roman north, of the Germanic tribes. And the image that’s arisen in response, perhaps inescapably, is of the slaughterhouse.

/// #image_by_image is an ongoing conversation between photographers Ivan Sigal and Anton Kusters.@ivansigal @antonkusters on Instagram ///